Theme and Artwork

This year’s theme – Climate of Curiosity – speaks to the nature of farmers as curious and resilient innovators in the face of the very real impacts of climate change on agriculture in Ontario.  We hope participants will not only leave the conference with new ideas and inspiration they can apply on their farms, but with new connection and renewed hope.

From this year’s artist:
My name is Garth Laidlaw and I created the artwork for 2019 EFAO Conference on the theme of “Climate of Curiosity”.  I loved this theme from the outset as it’s something that, while mentioned a lot today, cannot be restated enough in order to repeatedly prompt the organizations and people of the whole world to consider changing their lifestyles and businesses to leave lighter footprints than the previous generations.  It is something especially close to my heart as I grew up in a fairly environmentally-minded home, yet still notice that as I age I need constant reminders to conduct myself in an environmentally responsible way.  It is important to know and respect our human limits on the earth, as well as subtle ideological behaviours deeply embedded within many generations of taking resources from the planet rather than giving back. 
I put a lot of effort into this image for the EFAO in particular because of my awareness that multi-billion dollar corporations have a vast amount of power and resources to put into their advertising, whereas many ecological-based organizations run a much leaner ship, and this often creates an unfortunate disparity between the media created by the two.  I ambitiously hope that I can make images that are comparable in presentation and objective quality to the larger corporations that often don’t care about anything beyond their profit motive.  I’m lucky to have been able to work for organizations like the EFAO, who are actively trying to steer our cultural ship on a difference course; subtly self-correcting ourselves as we traverse the dialogue of “what will the future of agriculture look like?”  Moreover, on the basis of art alone, I hope this work stands on its own, and is very beautiful and engaging to the viewer, regardless of their knowledge or interest in farming.  For me art is a great tool to help pull people toward subjects that they will otherwise not have thought about deeply.  If I can achieve this even in a small way, then I’ll be quite content!
Instagram: @garthlaidlaw